• Amazon Studios and Netflix didn’t buy any movies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
  • This is a shocking result compared to the last two years when both companies were on a spending spree at the fest.
  • Industry insiders told Business Insider one of the reasons for this sudden halt was that both companies are less interested in independent films — and filmmakers are looking for traditional theatrical deals.

There were a lot of smiles around Park City, Utah, during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and it wasn’t everyone enjoying the clean mountain air. The lack of buying activity by Amazon Studios and Netflix this year meant more companies got to be involved in the movie buys than in previous years.

After the streaming giants combined for double-digit acquisitions the last two years at the fest, both dramatically put on the brakes this year. This led to a lot more action for the traditional distribution companies, and more activity for foreign sales agents, who had basically been sidelined the last few years as Amazon and Netflix took worldwide rights in their acquisitions.

Some felt this was just one of those years at Sundance where the lineup didn’t have many attractive commercial titles, as opposed to the past couple of years, which included “Mudbound” (which Netflix bought), “The Big Sick” (Amazon), “Icarus” (Netflix), and “Manchester by the Sea” (Amazon).

But many of those in the industry who Business Insider spoke to as the festival wound down last week said this Sundance marked the new game plan for both companies going forward, and buying indie movies wasn’t a big part of it.

Netflix and Amazon will now focus on making big-budget movies with stars

2016 was the first time the acquisition teams for Amazon and Netflix showed up with a binge mentality to Sundance. That year both companies left having Read More Here